At its third annual conference, held in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Network for Public Education released a major report on the problems of current test-based teacher evaluation systems. The report includes recommendations for innovative reform.

 

 

For Immediate Release: April 17, 2016

 

Media Contact:

 

Anthony Cody 510-917-9231, Anthony_cody@hotmail.com

 

 

Carol Burris 718-577-3276 cburris@networkforpubliceducation.org

 

 

National Report Shows New Teacher Evaluation Systems Causing Harm

 

 

“Teachers Talk Back: Educators on the Impact of Teacher Evaluation” is a ground-breaking report that brings forth the voices of those on the front lines, teachers and administrators, to reveal the impact that changes to teacher evaluations are having on our schools, teachers and students.

 

 

The Network for Public Education Urges Policymakers and the Public to Remove Evaluations Based on Test Scores and Strengthen Teacher Collaboration.

 

 

Raleigh, NC — Today, the Network for Public Education, a national nonprofit education advocacy organization, released Teachers Talk Back: Educators on the Impact of Teacher Evaluation, a report authored by a team of educators from around the country. The team drew on survey responses from nearly 3000 educators from 48 states who shared their firsthand experiences with the new models of teacher evaluation which resulted from Race to the Top. What respondents reported is cause for serious concern. Their observations explain the reports of falling morale and rising rates of teachers leaving the profession.

 
NPE’s Executive Director, recently retired principal Carol Burris contributed to the report, and said: “Many of us are concerned about the impact we have observed in our schools. This report makes it clear that the problems are systemic, and they are hitting schools across the nation.”

 

 

Some of the report’s key findings are:

 

· Eighty-three percent of respondents report that the use of test scores in teacher evaluations has had a negative effect on instruction.

 

 

· Seventy-two percent indicate that the use of test scores has hurt the sharing of instructional strategies among teachers.

 

 

· There have been sharp decreases in collaboration and increases in competition among teachers.

 

 

· Evaluations are consuming inordinate amounts of time and energy, without benefit.

 

 
Jessica Martinez, an Albuquerque teacher who contributed to the report said, “The current evaluation system has eroded and undermined collaborative relationships between teachers by placing teachers in competition against one another by creating a competitive and isolating professional culture.”

 

Respondents also raised concerns regarding possible bias against veteran teachers and minorities. Given major declines in the number of African American teachers in many major cities, the report recommends further research to investigate the role that test-based evaluations may play. Project facilitator Elaine Romero noted, “This project haunts me recognizing the impact of teacher evaluation on teachers-of-color. Where HAVE all the teachers-of-color gone? How DOES not having their presence, voice, and ideas impact our profession?”

 

 

Finally both responding teachers and administrators agree that the use of test scores for evaluation has had terrible consequences for children and teachers alike.

 

The report offers six recommendations.

 

· An immediate halt to the use of test scores as any part of teacher evaluation.

 

· Teacher collaboration should not be tied to evaluation but instead be a teacher- led cooperative process that focuses on their students’ and their own professional learning.

 

· The observation process should focus on improving instruction—resulting in reflection and dialogue between teacher and observer—the result should be a narrative, not a number.

 

· Evaluations should require less paperwork and documentation so that more time can be spent on reflection and improvement of instruction.

 

· An immediate review of the impact that evaluations have had on teachers of color and veteran teachers.

 

· Teachers
 should not be “scored” on professional development activities. Nor should professional development be dictated by evaluation scores rather than teacher needs.

 

NPE President Diane Ravitch said: “Current teacher evaluation programs are so flawed that they are causing an exodus of experienced teachers and a precipitous decline in the number of people who want to become teachers. This report offers research-based recommendations that can fix teacher evaluation so that it helps teachers and improves instruction. Every policymaker should read the report and consider implementation of its sound proposals.”

 

 

The full report can be found at: http://networkforpubliceducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/NPETeacherEvalReport.pdf

 

 

About the Network for Public Education

The Network for Public Education (NPE) was founded in 2013 by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. We are an advocacy group whose mission is to protect, preserve, promote, and strengthen public schools for both current and future generations of students. For more information, please visit: networkforpubliceducation.org